What’s the Bottom Line?
People with ADHD often have communication challenges. Many of them are “circular talkers.” They are so creative and non-linear that they tend to talk around a subject, or go off subject entirely. That can be difficult to understand and follow. A coach friend of mine refers to it as “taking a stroll through the tuna isle” — looking at all the pretty cans and describing them in great detail, instead of just buying a can and getting out of the store!
Here’s the tip. When you notice that your kids (or you) are talking in circles, getting a little carried away on the details, gently interrupt them and ask them to summarize what they just said. “What's the bottom line?” You can even challenge them to do it in one sentence or less (our kids love to be challenged). At the beginning, you might need to help them. It takes a few tries to learn the skill.
Then, talk with them about why it's important and how they can use it when they talk with others. It is important to help our kids become aware of how they communicate. If they do have a tendency to go to the tuna isle, it can get in the way of effective communication with their friends and teachers. If they get into a habit of “bottom lining” what they want to say, it can go a long way to help them in their interactions as well.
It might even help with your ADHD spouse – they tend to love tuna, too!